With the Big Society slogan under pressure there are those within the government who would like it to quietly disappear. Nick Robinson phrased it well last week when he said that the BS had gone through apathy and now ridicule: “Now the danger is that anger will come next,” the BBC political editor wrote on his blog.
Today one coalition MP said to me it was one thing for “union dinosaurs” to criticise the cuts – it was another to see charity heads (some of whom would look at home at Tory conference) lining up to question the deficit reduction programme.
David Cameron and Steve Hilton (pictured) have been unlucky with their timing, given they have been exploring themes of greater community involvement for several years. This fact undermines any suggestion that the Big Society theme was invented last summer as a sinister cover for the cuts. But the two have co-incided and will now be inextricably linked.
There was a rumour today that an email is circulating in the Cabinet Office urging staff to refrain from using the phrase or at least cut back on it. For now this is neither confirmed nor denied.
UPDATE: The Cabinet Office have “unequivocally” denied that such an email exists, or at least that there is an official one emanating from ministers.